Things are changing rapidly as the COVID-19 epidemic sweeps the nation, and all signs point to the very real possibility of quarantines for all. Italy is already in lockdown, the state of Washington is talking about it openly, and it may be right for you whether mandatory or not.
For those of us that are, ahem, “the preparing types,” this one actually doesn’t look all that scary. If our previous worst-case scenario was hiding out in the damp/snowy woods, everything we own in a backpack, hunted day and night by enemies with superior technology and organization, this one is actually downright laughable. You mean, stay at home with all my years of preps, and likely the lights and power stay on? Be serious. That is a vacation, not an event!
Other episodes in this series:
- Clay on Survival Foods for COVID-19 Crisis (How to Avoid Eating Your Pets)
- Clay on Staying Fit and Sane During Quarantine
- Clay’s COVID-19 Gun Buying Guide for Noobs
- Clay’s COVID-19 Gun Buying Guide for Noobs Part II: Holsters & Slings
- Clay’s COVID-19 Gun Buying Guide for Noobs Part III: Flashlights & Broadswords
- Clay’s COVID-19 Gun Buying Guide for Noobs Part IV: Dinosaur Tech and Space Age Sights
And I get it. Two months ago, I would be right there with you. But as many of you know, I was recently subject to some personal tragedy, which has left me scrambling over the last three weeks to replace all my years of preps. Right now, and on a budget. It wasn’t easy, and some shortcuts had to be taken. Which has prompted me to write this week’s column about food and water procurement in the current state of panic.
If you a regular reader of GunsAmerica Digest, odds are pretty good that you had a stash of food and supplies well before the current crisis. And to be honest, this column probably isn’t for you. It may help with some last-minute needs, but odds are that our normal subscriber base is just as resourceful as I am in this arena. But this is definitely one you can pass on to your friends and family that were not paying attention, to help them on their way. I’m also betting that we have a whole new group of readers, out there looking for some answers from a trusted resource. Welcome!
I’m not going to beat a dead horse on gathering food, especially not when we already have some excellent video segments from GunsAmerica Actual on calories per dollar (click on the above photo to watch Paul’s video on Youtube) and why normal food is better than whiz-bang ninja prepper 30-year-shelf-life specials. I strongly recommend you watch it, that is one I have shared with my own family and friends over the last couple of weeks. I am, however, going to add a few supplemental things I have learned from my own experiences.
For you guys that don’t know me, I am a prior service Reconnaissance Marine and Special Forces Soldier. Which in this case, means I have done more than my fair share of survival/ semi-starvation exercises. I don’t normally add that into the column, but it is relevant for today’s discussion.
To the calories per dollar point, meats and carbs tend to have a lot more than canned vegetables and fruits. If you look at the label on something like a can of green beans, you are going to notice that it has next to nothing for calories. Like 60 total in the can, which counts as 2-3 servings, and for usually 50 cents to a dollar per can. In a raw calorie match, ravioli or spam beat the pants off corn and peas. If you are short on money or shelf space, go with the higher calorie item, always. But don’t forget that veggies supply needed nutrients, as well as keep you regular. If you are going to end up without them, make sure you grab a bottle of fiber gummies and multivitamins.
Beans and rice are the dry food weapon of choice for most of us. And provided we still have access to potable water, an excellent choice. You can go a really long time on these two, as anyone that has ever been poor already knows. Speaking for myself and my stash of pinto beans, it also packs in some hidden advantages. Pinto beans not only have a gaggle of protein, generally the most expensive part of the meal but 15 grams of fiber, which helps offset the rice. But, two points to add if this is your long term survival plan.
Beans and rice are both very low in fats, which is something you MUST HAVE to properly absorb nutrients (a spoonful of high-fat peanut butter with each meal would go a long way to keeping the balance correct). This isn’t a concern for most of us, as in normal life we carry around enough fat to handle it. But in a long term situation, your body stores are going to run out. Which can lead to something called either protein poisoning or “rabbit starvation.”
Rabbit starvation is a phenomenon of having plenty of meat, but actually starving to death because your diet lacks the fats to absorb it. In fact, the US Army Arctic survival manual recommends eating nothing at all, if only rabbit is available. For an easy visual, I am big fan of the TV show “Alone” on History Channel. It’s a survival contest where people go out by themselves and survive, last one standing wins.
Last season, an absolute maniac of a contestant managed to kill a moose, the first big game animal ever harvested on the show. It should have been game over at that point, he could outlast anyone. Right? Well, a problem arose. Scavengers managed to steal his separated fat store from the moose. So despite him eating multiple pounds of lean meat every day, he was still starving to death and losing weight compared to his counterparts eating nothing. It is worth watching, as we all now have some time on our hands.
Your local grocery stores may or may not be wiped out at this point. It seems to be region dependent. Right now I could go buy a pallet of spam, but not a stitch of hand sanitizer or toilet paper. Food, in my opinion, should be much higher priority. What can you do if that is gone already? Here are a couple of out of the box solutions:
You can eat dog food. That sounds savage, and I am positive not FDA recommended. It actually isn’t that bad. Maybe I come from a strange place, but I’ve done it as an experiment. Dog food has a reasonable balance of nutrients, and for the most part stores cheap. Dry dog food is kinda like a bland cereal, chase it with plenty of water. A quick check reveals my dogs get about 327 calories per cup, which beats most canned foods. We have seen in recent years recalls of dog food made in china for contaminants, so buyer beware. But I’d still prefer this to plague rats if push comes to shove.
Restaurant supply stores. Just because the local grocery chains are out of food, doesn’t mean everyone is. Restaurant supply stores carry bulk items and are off the beaten path of most people. A 50-pound bag of dehydrated eggs and 10 gallons of cherry pie filling wouldn’t be my first choice of apocalypse food, but I wouldn’t turn it down either.
You aren’t going to like this one, and neither are the kids. But if the chips are truly down, you can also eat your pets. Or the neighbor’s pets. Dogs and cats as calories seem like an abomination here in the Western world, but it isn’t out of the question. Do I have your attention, now? Good. This isn’t a game. The stakes are high, and fluffy is a lot less valuable than you. It is the hard heart that kills, and for a lot of situations in the near future, a hard heart may very well be a valuable asset. I suggest you get used to that idea right now! (Or — stock up appropriately so you don’t have to resort to eating Fido and Mr. Mistoffelees).
I hope you all have a stash of goods assembled, and even better that this all blows over. I hope you can all laugh at this column in two weeks (especially at the notion of eating pets – LOL), over the local pizza buffet because COVID-19 burned itself out. But I’m not counting on it. As the situation unfolds, I will be doing more columns about surviving. In the meantime, I highly recommend you look at some of the past articles from GunsAmerica Actual. See you next week (If there is a “next week”).